Congressional doctor explains Bachmann migraines
July 20th, 2011
04:49 PM ET
3 years ago

Congressional doctor explains Bachmann migraines

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann released a letter from her physician Wednesday to further explain her migraine headaches. It was first revealed she suffers from migraines Tuesday.

The Attending Physician of the United States Congress, Dr. Brian Monahan, said the Minnesota Congresswoman is in "overall in good general health."

"Your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid," Dr. Monahan wrote.

The doctor noted evaluations have included "detailed labwork and brain scans all of which are normal." She is prescribed sumatriptan and odansetron to control the migraines on an as-needed basis, Dr. Monahan wrote. He said she does not take daily medications to manage the headaches.

After a report in the Daily Caller, Bachmann said Tuesday she treats her migraines with medicine as needed and emphasized the rigorous pace of her campaign schedule since she entered the 2012 race.

"I'm prescribed medication that I take on occasion whenever symptoms arise and they keep my migraines under control, but I'd like to be abundantly clear, my ability to function effectively … will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief," Bachmann said.

"Like millions of Americans, Congresswoman Bachmann suffers with migraines and they are under control when treated with medication," campaign press secretary Alice Stewart told CNN.

Former Bachmann staffers spoke anonymously to the Daily Caller regarding Bachmann's episodes and whether they could impact her bid for the White House. Some former Bachmann staffers have left the congresswoman's office on anything but good terms, and it's not clear if those speaking anonymously to the Daily Caller have an agenda in speaking out against her.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. xyz abc

    I never like Michele Bachmann. However, her migraines should not be the reasons of not being the President. She has to explain to American that how she is going handle the difficult situation> Is she going to have severe migraines if she is under heavy stress. How is she going to handle difficult situation if she has migrane attack.

    Michele Bachmann is tea parety conservative favor. I assume sge is pro business. What is her view on corporation hiring handicap/ sick people? I like to know her stance. This stance is important. If she believes corporations have right not to hire handicap or people with severe illness, we, American, have right not to hire her

    Also she is going to be taken care being the President. Even when she got migraine attack, the best medical she is going to get (if she becomes the president) will relieve her pain. What gives her right to not to improve improve health care for majority American?

    Her Migraine is not an issue. Her believe is a major issue

    July 20, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Jeremy

    The note mentions that she is aware of the trigger factors and how to avoid them. I'd be curious to see what those trigger factors are and if they are avoidable with a job such as President of the United States. Yes, she is a member of Congress and that is a stressful job. However, it is not as stressful as the Office of the President of the United States, nor are those stressors as easily reduced or avoided.

    July 20, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. whoa!

    you're all missing the big point here, people, she gives all of us headaches just listening to her... kind of like a reverse migraine!

    July 20, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. jb

    What about the headaches she gives the people that hear her ranting? Can I get a letter from the Attending Physician?

    July 20, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Maggie

    so maybe she shouldn't run for president after all. mmmm

    July 20, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. David Stone

    Her headaches come from the stressful process of attempting to formulate intelligent thoughts.

    July 20, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Mindie from India

    Hey can't her husband's clinic pray away her migraines? Heck, if prayer can save gays, surely it can cure a migraine.

    July 20, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. Doc Spock

    There was no comment on her mental health

    July 20, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Angy

    please. that still doesn't explain her utter and total stupidity or does it? hmmmmmmmmmmm!

    July 20, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Mindie from India

    Of course we taxpayers paid for her medical tests and all the exams. We pay 100% for all elected officials to receive lifetime health care for them and their entire family, (you know, it's the government option) yet these same people don't think you or I deserve this level of medical care. Selfish and greedy is the only way to describe these types of people and anybody who defends them is just as much a traitor to the United States.

    July 20, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Aaron

    There's an old saying, "If you want it in the news, it's advertising; if you don't, it's news." If Bachmann released it, it's advertising.

    July 20, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. A

    What the heck? Why is this important?

    July 20, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. steven harnack

    How come hubby hasn't advised her to pray them away?

    July 20, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Diane

    Why is it considered acceptable to demand to know politicians' medical information? They're entitled to just as much privacy as anyone else. Think about it, if up-and-coming politicians see other pollies being denied their privacy, how open do you think they will be with their own doctors? Medical privacy exists for a very good reason – so patients feel comfortable being open and honest with their medical professionals. The recent trend to take that away could have dire consequences eventually.

    It's also sexist. Bachmann, like Palin, has five pregnancies worth of sensitive gynaecological data in her medical records, do people really think they have a right to that information? Women are also more prone to certain conditions too, which no patient should be pressured into revealing just because they're seeking public office. This trend towards making medical records public needs to be halted.

    p.s. I'm a progressive through and through. I'm no fan of either of those women, but they have a right to their medical privacy, just like everyone else.

    July 20, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. What a joke

    "my ability to function effectively … will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief"

    How true...how very true...Her ability to function effectively has not affected her ability to serve in Congress, either. I've not heard of any effective functioning by her while in Washington, and I'm sure she won't let an ability to function effectively affect anything she does if (help us) she wins the presidency.

    July 20, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. herald

    She signed and agreed to a racist document, why do we have people like her running for president...

    July 20, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. GC

    LOL, the 'ATTENDING PHYSICIAN' needs to proof his dictation better. They misspelled oNdansetron. Ordinarily I wouldn't be the spelling police, but this is on official letterhead to be obviously released to the press.

    July 20, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. Pallin2112

    Quick picking on Bachmann you mean spirited Liberals! You should be ashamed of yourselves. Making fun of crazy people is not very nice.

    July 20, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. clarke

    If she ever won the general election, she will have a headache every day just from the stress.

    July 20, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. Cyrus

    Bachmann's headache is caused by the lack of grey matter. You don't need a doctor to tell that she is mental.

    July 20, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. David, CA

    "Yes- you are completely insane." -Dr. Brian Monahan

    July 20, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Cambob

    Wow. Who knew that hate could cause headaches!

    July 20, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. Mark Michigan

    oh yeah, that is what i was worried about with bachmann: her health. not her nutty ideas! NOT

    July 20, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  24. Major Headache

    I have seen precious few comments that actually address what is potentially a serious road block.
    This is potentially far far worse than Lieberman, as an observant Jew will not break the Sabbath for anything other than a major catastrophe.
    I occasionally get massive sinus/migraine headaches and my wife suffers from even more excruciating migraines than I suffer.
    When one of these monster headaches strike, you are often totally incapacitated and in pain to such an extent that you can't think straight and you can't stand any sound or light. These can sometimes linger for days on end. I once had a headache that took a week to finally subside.
    Bachmann may be fine most of the time, but if one of these monsters strikes in the middle of some major crisis or during a period of multiple high level meetings with world leaders and domestic political leaders, her effectiveness will be severely impacted.
    I don't like Bachmann's politics and I don't like Bachmann's interpretations of American history and I wouldn't vote for her, regardless of the obvious fact that she is able and willing to listen to her advisors and to do (most of, but not all) her homework. But this migraine issue is potentially a real disqualifier in terms of her being able to properly carry out her duties and obligations if she is elected.
    Remember, the pressures of an average congressperson, or even a congressional leader, are not even close to the constant pressure the president is subjected to. Look at how rapidly presidents age before our eyes compared to every other elected official.

    July 20, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. Seattle Sue

    Why doesn't she have Marcus to just pray the headaches away?

    July 20, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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